The Beginner’s Guide to Anchor Texts and Their Usage in Link Building

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Anchor text is my keyword,

Anchor text is the link that we use for backlinking,

Ummm Anchor text? What’s that?

What is an anchor text and how it should be used? I asked this question to some SEO newbies in my circle and these are the replies I got from them.

Nothing is shocking about the fact that a majority of newbies do not even understand what an anchor text is and where and how it should be used, despite the fact that they themselves have been using it frequently. They constantly put it here and there on a daily basis still, they don’t have a theoretical knowledge of what is it and how it should be leveraged to bring the maximum benefits to their site’s ranking.

This simple and basic guide has been written to guide you on the basics of anchor text and how it can be used to maximize your SEO results.

So without waiting further, let’s dive in.

What is an Anchor Text?

Anchor text is a clickable link that you embed in your guest posts, your web content or any other place where you leave your site link such as forums, business profile, blogs comment section, etc.

Although, most people believe that anchor texts are not as significant as they used to be before. But actually, they still matter and you are still ought to use them strategically. They will matter as long as backlinks and link building matter.

However, the Google algorithm update especially the Penguin update in 2012 has changed the link-building practices. The algorithm update pushed SEOs to make some major alterations to their link-building strategy. To put it differently, Google has gotten smarter than ever before to detect whether you are involved in any sort of unnatural link building practices. If it catches you red-handed, it hits you with a penalty.

And how does Google know this? Simple, Through your anchor texts.

Suppose you have a design company named “ABC” which offers graphic design services, now all your backlinks should not be embedded on the same anchor text “graphic design services.” Otherwise sooner or later Google will know that you are building aggressive unnatural links and consequently you will get hit by a penalty.

What are the Types of Anchor Texts?

You must be wondering, do anchor texts really come in types. Well, yes. Instead of using a single anchor text again and again in your posts, you can use the various types which help you break the anchor texts in multiple variations.

Below we have mentioned the types of anchor texts that if used in a perfect ratio would uplift your site ranking faster than ever before.

1. Branded Anchors

These are the types of anchors that have your brand name in them. It can be the brand name alone or with additional words included before or after. Here is an example of a branded anchor text from Ahrefs.

Branded Anchors

2. Naked Link Anchors

Naked link anchors are the types of anchor texts where you place the link just as it is, without embedding it in any sort of text.

For ex:

3. Generic Anchors

Generic anchors are basically CTAs in which you neither use the targeted keywords nor the brand name.

For example:

- Read here
- Click here
- Visit our website

4. No Anchor

This is the type of anchor that most of the brands are using. You can get this type of anchor when you are getting a link through an image (with no ALT tag), or you can simply get it by not including any anchor text in your content. This is how a No Anchor looks like.

No Anchor
No Anchor Text

5. Brand Name with keyword

This is the type of anchor text where you merge the targeted keywords with your brand name.

This is what it looks like:

- ABC SEO Services
- ABC Link Building Service

6. Image Anchors

Wherever you are posting an image make sure you put an ALT tag in it. Google will consider this ALT tag as an anchor text for an image. Otherwise, it would be considered as a No anchor that we have mentioned in the previous heading. To learn more about image optimization, read our article on Image SEO.

7. Partial Match Anchors

For this kind of anchor text, you will be using variations of your targeted keywords.

For Example:

  • Learn the right way to use anchor text
  • Read the basics of using anchor text

8. LSI Anchors

LSI stands for latent semantic indexing. Go to Google, type your keyword, and below you will be getting the related search terms in your typed query. These are LSI keywords for your brand. For example, my target keyword is graphic design services. These would be the LSI keywords that I can use other than my target keywords as anchor text.

LSI Anchors

9. Exact Match Anchor Text

Exact match anchors are basically the keywords for which you did thorough research. For example, if ‘Best SEO Company’ is your target keyword and you are using the exact anchor text for the link building, it means you are using Exact Match anchor texts. They are the most powerful yet the most sensitive keywords that could affect your site ranking both negatively or positively.

How Should Anchot Text be Used?

Most of the SEOs believe that if they will use the exact match keywords, their site would be able to achieve positive results quickly. On the contrary, things work the other way around.

Exact match anchor should be used in less percentage in your link-building strategy. Yes, you can use exact match keywords, but just when you want to give a quick boost to your profile. If you keep using them again and again, it will cause a negative impact on your Google profile and Google will assume that you are building unnatural links.

Below we have mentioned the keywords based on the priority that should be given to them.

  1. Branded Anchor Text: Use it as much as you can. This shows to Google that you are focused on building a brand, rather than spamming the internet with unnatural keywords.
  2. Naked Links: Again naked links are safe they seem natural in your profile.
  3. Generic Anchor Texts: Generic anchors or call to actions are not only attention-grabbing but they also help to keep your profile healthy and natural. Use variations of CTAs, do not stick to a single CTA for every link.
  4. Image and No-Anchor: Feel free to use these kinds of keywords as they are also not going to land you in any sort of trouble.
  5. Partial Match Anchors and LSI: Be very careful when you are using these. Make sure you are not spamming your Google profile with tons of these. Make variations of your targeted keyword and use it in a way that it should appear natural.
  6. Exact Match Anchors: As mentioned above use these with caution. Frequent use of exact match anchors is not a good idea for your link building strategy.

What should be the pattern?

When you are going to build links for your money site. Make sure you are not following a pattern that is too obvious for Google to analyze that you are on a spree of acquiring backlinks. Just be random.

Give a kick to your website with an exact match anchor text and for the next link go for a branded keyword. For the 3rd one use an LSI or partially matched anchor text, then use a generic anchor text then again use branded keyword and continue doing this in a random way.

Final Words

Do not repeat keywords in a row and keep shuffling things. Remember Google hates it when you are being too perfect with your anchor texts and keywords. Google expects that the website is finding the links to is committed to providing quality content to the internet users. So do not think of tricking Google, if you think you can do so then you have been under a wrong impression.

Do not try to act natural, instead, just ‘be natural.’ Do build links but not spam the internet with unwanted and poor-quality content. This guide is based on personal experience and the results may vary as every website is different in one way or another.

However, in general, this guide will help you in making better decisions regarding your link-building strategy.

Author’s Bio:

Loius Martin is the Creative Marketing Manager at Invictus Studio in Southlake, Texas. He has been doing digital marketing for the past three years in the US. Loius has extensive experience in blogging and marketing, and his work reflects a deep insight into the marketing tactics of the present world. You can follow him at @loiusmartin1 on Twitter.

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